Friday, July 4, 2008

Of Double Standards And Double Speak

Bishop Thomas Dupre

Sister Louise Lear

Archbishop Burke Disciplines Sister of Charity

She Participated in Attempted Ordination of Women
ST. LOUIS, Missouri, JUNE 27, 2008 ( Archbishop Raymond Burke has disciplined a Sister of Charity who has promoted and participated in an attempt to ordain two women to the priesthood. Sister Louise Lears was accused of four delicts connected to her "encouragement of, promotion of and participation" in the attempted ordination of two women to the priesthood in November 2007.

The decree of extra-judicial adjudication regarding the sister was published Thursday, the day before the archbishop of St. Louis was named the prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the supreme court of the Church. The Sister of Charity, is a member of the pastoral team at St. Cronan’s Catholic Church in South St. Louis, and a coordinator of religious education in the archdiocese. A statement accompanying the decree affirms that, after a process of several months, the archbishop found the sister guilty of three of the four delicts of which she was accused.

"Delicts, which must be published in the Church," the note said, "are grave and external violations against the Catholic faith or moral teaching." AccusationsSister Louise Lears is accused of four delicts: "1) the obstinate rejection, after written admonition, of the truth of the faith that it is impossible for a woman to receive ordination to the sacred priesthood (cann.750, §2; and 1371, 1º); 2) the public incitement of the faithful to animosity or hatred toward the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry (can. 1373); 3) the grave external violation of divine or canon law, with the urgent need to prevent and repair the scandal involved (can. 1399); and 4) prohibited participation in sacred rites (can. 1365). "The statement affirms that throughout the process, Sister Lear's "right to defend herself against the accusations was carefully safeguarded."

A text accompanying both the statement and decree reported that Archbishop Burke met privately the Sister Lears to issue a summons and canonical admonition, which is considered a warning. Given that Sister Lears did not acknowledge that her public actions are against Church teaching, the archbishop has issued the penalty of interdict.

"This means that Sister Louise Lears cannot participate in public worship and cannot receive the Sacraments until she repents. The penalty of interdict is aimed at calling the persons away from their sin and to reconciliation with Christ and His Church," said the text.

Archbishop Burke ruled that the fourth delict is a "question of the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," so he has referred the matter that dicastery. The archbishop imposed the following canonical penalties upon Sister Lears: "1) the penalty of interdict and 2) the prohibition of receiving any mission in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, effective immediately. "Interdict prohibits the reception of the sacraments. The prohibition of receiving any mission prohibits the holding of any Church position or the exercise of any apostolate of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis."

The note says the "penalties are imposed for the purpose of bringing Sister Louise Lears to repentance for the delicts which she has committed and to reconciliation with the Catholic Church."

The statement continues: "Archbishop Burke expressed his sadness in imposing the canonical penalties which were necessitated by the refusal of Sister Louise Lears, even after repeated admonitions, to withdraw her statements and repudiate her conduct which have constituted grave delicts in the Church."The archbishop asks all of the faithful of the archdiocese to pray for the reconciliation of Sister Louise Lears with the Church."


Bishop Dupre Still in Treatment

By Bill Zajac wzajac@repub.comThe Republican [Springfield MA]July 22, 2006

The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Bishop Thomas L. Dupre for more than two years may have been solved .At a retreat in June in Pennsylvania, the former head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield listed his address as St. Luke Institute, the Silver Spring, Md., the facility he checked into in February 2004 upon abandoning his position amid allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Dupre attended a retreat from June 13 to June 21 at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, Pa., according to an official at the retreat center.Upon registering at the retreat, Dupre listed his address as St. Luke Institute, according to the retreat official. A 21/2-year stay at St. Luke Institute is highly unusual as treatment at the facility rarely lasts as long as six months, according to people familiar with the institute and the facility's Web site. For this reason, there was a strong assumption that Dupre didn't remain at the facility for more than a few months upon his resignation as bishop.

Among St. Luke's treatment programs is a Halfway House Program, which usually lasts three to six months, according to the facility's Web site. Dupre's long stay reflects the preferential treatment that bishops have received from the church during the clergy abuse crisis, according to critics of the Catholic Church's handling of the crisis.

"Those bishops (accused of abuse) are certainly being protected by the system," said Terence B. McKiernan, co-director of He cited the policy that U.S. bishops created on clergy sexual abuse, which includes no guidelines to discipline bishops for sexual abuse of minors. "The Vatican takes control. It means a lay person has no recourse in the discipline of bishops," McKiernan said.

If the Vatican took action against Dupre, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield would not necessarily be informed of it, Springfield Diocese spokesman Mark E. Dupont said yesterday. David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said bishops are treated like royalty by the church, regardless of their behavior." St. Luke is one of the most expensive places to put abusers. Given the hundreds of priests who need treatment for abuse, it seems a little odd that he would be there for 21/2 years," Clohessy said.

Citing confidentiality laws, St. Luke declined to confirm Dupre's presence there. The institute also declined to return a call seeking information about lengthy stays for treatment and costs. St. Luke's Web site doesn't list treatment costs. However, the average cost of a private treatment facility is more than $650 per day, according to numerous listings of facilities on The Addiction Recovery Guide Web site.

Citing confidentiality, Springfield diocesan officials have refused to discuss publicly Dupre's whereabouts. With regard to Dupre, the diocese continues to comply with guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding benefits to retired bishops, according to Dupont. The guidelines include a monthly stipend of at least $1,500, appropriate housing and board, complete health insurance benefits, an automobile, all expenses for trips to provincial, regional and national bishops' meetings and workshops as well as possible occasional visits to the Vatican.

John M. Bowen of Longmeadow, head of Voice of the Faithful's chapter in East Longmeadow, expressed disappointment that the diocese wasn't more forthcoming with information about Dupre's whereabouts."We think the diocese owes something of an explanation to those of us in this diocese who feel betrayed," said Bowen."We are treated like we are children. We are adults. ... The perception of a cover-up continues," Bowen said.

Dupre was accused of sexually abusing two minors when he was a parish priest more than 10 years before he was installed as the diocese's bishop in 1995. Dupre was indicted by a Hampden County grand jury in September 2004 on two rape charges stemming from the abuse accusations. Hampden County District Attorney William M. Bennett chose not to pursue the charges because the criminal statute of limitations had expired. Dupre's accusers Tuan Tran and Thomas Deshaies have pending lawsuits against Dupre and the Springfield diocese. Clohessy and McKiernan say there are many cases of preferential treatment given bishops by the church.


How long will we laity put up with this? On one hand we have a bishop who was legally charged with two counts of rape, and on the other a nun who has been charged with actively supporting the ordination of women. One is under interdict and one is apparently still at St. Lukes and still retains his priestly faculties.

What is the message here? Is it that the open advocacy of ordaining women is sacramentally far worse than raping our children, a crime so heinous that expulsion and interdiction are mandatory. Or is it that bishops live in their own little world and are accountable to no one other than their fellow clerics in the Vatican? If the latter is true then based on John Paul's dead silence on the abuse issue and vehemence against the ordination of women, one can't help but come to the conclusion that raping our children is far less of a sacriledge than advocating for women priests.

No wonder Burke is on his way to the Vatican and Dupre is enjoying an apparently permanent vacation at St. Luke's. I say apparently because I was unable to find an update. 2006 is the last anyone publicly spotted him according to By the way this site lists 15 other bishops accused of sexual impropriety with minors. This doesn't include those bishops with credible charges of sexual impropriety with adults, and of course, none of them have been laicized or placed under interdict. Sexual sins are only really important for the laity and lesser clergy.

One can't help but wonder why the concept of women priests is so much more threatening to our Catholic Faith than the rape of our children. Could it be that a lot of these bishops are more terrified of sharing their authority with women and with married clergy for a reason? That to do that would somehow invite themselves to a kind of scrutiny they don't want? That maybe women in their ranks would expose the underlying hypocrisy of male celibacy. That it would disolve the hidden side of the sexuality practiced by so many of our clergy in the secrecy of their own entirely male caste. Couldn't be that could it?

Sex and power, sex and power hmmm, maybe this is the reason they so desperately want Bishop Geoffrey Robinson to keep his mouth shut and his opinions to himself. I read a quote from the good bishop upon his return to Austrualia from his American speaking tour. He returned to find 13 letters from various American bishops telling him to stay out their dioceses. Bishop Robinson said he was utterly amazed at the apparent dysfuntion in the American Church. That it was far worse than he ever supposed. Ya think?

Poor Sister Louise, I'm sure she's just as befuddled by all this double standard stuff in the same way I am. Maybe she'll take over religious education at St. Stanislas Kostka. She must have met Father Marek at the same ordination and now since they are both under interdict/excommunication they can share war stories. Because this is what it's getting to be, a war for the heart and soul of the Church.


  1. "the truth of the faith that it is impossible for a woman to receive ordination to the sacred priesthood."

    Well, it isn't a truth of the faith in my understanding. It's a strongly expressed opinion, professed and endorsed by many persons currently in a position of power and influence. The fact that the top flight legislating body says-so doesn't make it true. Or false, come to that - they're out of their competance.

    Sr Louise, hold your head high. I read that your parish supports you; I hope your congregation has the guts to do the same.

  2. Colleen, your point is very well stated "One can't help but wonder why the concept of women priests is so much more threatening to our Catholic Faith than the rape of our children."

    When I think about Sister Louise and her real dedication and love for the Church in all the different ministries which were highlighted in a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter and her supposedly great big no-no boo-boo "encouragement of, promotion of and participation" in the "attempted ordination of two women to the priesthood back in Nov 2007" and that being the cause of being "disciplined" it astounds and annoys me to no end.

    I believe there will be a serious backlash if the hierarchy in the Church continue with this sort of "discipline" towards those who believe irrefutably that Apostles in the early Jewish-Christian communities in Jerusalem were both men and women. A house divided against itself will not stand.

    I see a sort of silver lining in all this Colleen. If Sister Louise joins up with the St. Stanislas Kostka parish, imagine the number of people who might also flood that parish and it could thrive and be a new beginning of a new and Holy Catholic Church without the Roman dysfunctional baggage.

  3. Sceptic it seems to me that the magesterium has always claimed a level of competence based on circular reasoning. You have to accept their definition of what Christ meant when he appointed Peter. Did He mean Peter was to lead the disciples or a whole new Church movement.

    I've read one exegetic statement from a better translation--at least more accurate about the Greek--that Jesus actually said "Thou art Peter, but upon this Rock you shall build my Church"-- The use of but, rather than, and, actually points to Jesus as the Rock on which the Church was to be found.

    This is a HUGE difference and most certainly brings into question the competency and authentic authority claimed by the Church. If He didn't intend Himself to be the Rock on which the Church was to be built, why bother sending the Advocate to teach His disciples later what they couldn't 'bear' while He was with them.

    Hmmmm, maybe there's another article here. :)

  4. Butterfly, until someone can tell me why it's worse to advocate for women priests than rape our children I will continue my strike.

    The divide in Christianity over women clerics and homosexuality is much deeper than these two issues. They are symptoms of something else. I get into this with today's article and will continue to expound on it in the future. Did you have a good fourth? We had some serious storms. Some places near me got baseball sized hail. I'm glad I turned down all the invitations to go camping. Things cleared up for the fireworks though.

  5. Sr. Louise dissents from an ecclesial teaching and she is placed under interdict. Bishop Dupre rapes children and receives no sanction at all, just a quarter-million dollar a year vacation at St. Luke’s.

    The Vatican and its sycophants see dissent as a greater “scandal” than the rape of children because dissent threatens their grip on power; child-rape does not threaten their grip on power.

    This is truly pathetic. I’ve come to recognize a major pathological root of these dysfunctions -- that between a third and half of Roman priests and bishops are homosexual (Sipe, Cozzens, and other researchers) -- and that most of these are closeted and self-loathing.

    This explains their homophobic attitudes and projections onto others; it also explains the disproportionate numbers of male-child victims of sexual abuse. These self-loathing homosexuals suffered higher rates of arrested psycho-sexual development which led them to prey on children. Healthy homosexual men are not attracted to children.

    The Bishop Dupres of the church are busy fighting gay marriage while protecting pedophiles (if not abusing children themselves) because they are pathetic, arrested, self-loathing homosexuals.

    This high rate of self-loathing among closeted homosexual priests and bishops also feeds into their lust for power (as a subliminal substitution for affection), and their general emphases on sin and obedience (as projections of their own joylessness).

    The Archbishop Burkes of the church are busy asserting their power, excommunicating others, and burying themselves in cannon law because they are pathetic, joyless creatures bereft of personal affections.

    The pathologies of these self-loathing sycophants of Rome stand in sharp contrast to He who came “so they may have life, and have it in abundance.”

    * * *

    The “sin” of Sister Louise was to disagree with an ecclesial policy, a man-made discipline, not an essential truth of faith. (Though note how Burke, anticipating this criticism, frames her dissention as one against a ”truth of the Faith”).

    Yet Dupre’s crimes more clearly violate an essential truth, as explicitly stated by Christ. ”Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the sea…. "See that you do not offend one of these little ones, for their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” (Matt 18).

    Most American Catholics agree that this is all outrageous. But lacking other sacramental options, most (myself included) are content to ignore Rome and stick with their local, mostly pastoral parishes.

    You ask, how long will we laity put up with all this ? My guess is, we will put up with it until priest shortages become so acute that laity can no longer ignore Rome from the comfort of their local parishes (which will be closed or severely understaffed).

    At that point, laity will have to look at taking matters into their own hands, including the options of clandestine home Masses and independent/ Old Catholic jurisdictions. I just hope the latter can become more viable moving forward.

    In the meanwhile, we really must redouble our direct reliance upon God Himself. ”Just trust in God. He’ll let you know what to do next.”

    PS: I confess that I have also violated Roman canon law by causing “(2) the public incitement of the faithful to animosity … toward the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry” (can. 1373). Amen!

    -- John K

  6. John the nice thing about self excommunication is that it's more or less private, well, unless you start blogging. It drives conservatives nuts that I'm very upfront about not recieving communion because I'm on strike. They cant' accuse me of giving scandal or desecrating hosts. You know, the really big clubs, the Nike Sasquatch's of the rightwing bag of clubs.

    Just like I play a lot of virtual golf, I do a lot of Spiritual Communion. Now there's an ,idea. I'll invent a virtual Mass game, well, not game, in which you will have the options of the Latin or Novus Ordo format and can preselect your sermons and have even more options on the readings. Wow, I could even add all the forms of the consecration and options for other liturgical celebrations. Not only that, but I could add the 'design your own priest' option.

    I gotta get on the horn to EAS. This has potential, especially for Catholics in rural areas where circuit riders are already going by the wayside. Too many of us no longer have the comfort of our own like minded parishes. We don't have any parish.

  7. But why deny yourself the Eucharist ? After all, they don't "own" the sacrament. The invitation to dine with Him comes from Christ, not Rome.

    I have no problem partaking in Eucharist, despite my honest dissent from some Roman teachings. My confessor supports it, and I have no conflict of conscience at all. What's more, I've received only consolation from Christ in the Eucharist.

    Rome is driven crazier by the Old Catholics than they are by the Protestants. Rome just dismisses the Protestants. But the Old Catholics share the same Apostolic Succession and sacraments as Rome (without the papal baggage) which even Rome acknowledges as valid -- "valid but illicit".

    Is there no pastoral parish in your area? How about religious chapels like the Franciscans?

    btw, what is EAS ?

    PS: Here's a great quote by Gregory the Great which relates to your last two threads --

    "Better for scandal to be caused than for the truth to be abandoned."

    -- John K

  8. John, that's a great quote from Gregory the Great. Isn't he the Pope who met St. Francis face to face?

    We have four parishes within twenty miles of where I live. I think there may be only one which might appeal to me, and that appeal is not enough to overcome my disdain for the Church in general. Especially the ban on birth control in AIDS torn third world countries. In any event, Spiritual Communion works very well for me personally, although not communally, but then that's the core question. Is it about community or personal salvation? The hierarchy wants it to be about personal salvation. My experience is that Jesus wants it to be about community. He doesn't seem to be overly concerned about my stance and is always present to me. Just not the way He would be in a community. He and I seem to have worked a deal out on this one!

  9. Oh as to your question about EAS, in my opinion, it's the best video game company on the market. Graphics are great, stories are adequate, and their sports games are unparallelled in any format.

    We have a TLM community in the area but not Old Catholic, although the Epicopalians are pretty liberal.

  10. Hi Colleen! This 4th of July weekend has been full of fireworks of the man-made kind and from thunder clouds rolling through the entire region where I live. In counterpoint to that, to balance everything off, were the fireworks in the Church from Burke towards Sister Louise Lear echoing like thunderclaps in your blog and into both hemispheres of my brain.

    About the strike as you have described, I used to partake of it in the manner in which you now find appropriate. After a few years of doing that I was encouraged to transcend and strike in another way, which allowed me to receive Communion. But now I have a different sort of strike going on. For the last few weeks it has been impossible for me to attend Mass for various reasons. I find that I am able to spiritually receive Jesus and be in communion with him by not even being physically present at the Mass. How wonderful the Holy Spirit truly is when one finds God's presence active and alive wherever one happens to be.

    Since I don't believe it is right or just or loving to deny Communion to any of the faithful, least of all to myself who returned to the Church as a true penitent and is in Communion with Christ, I do not advocate that anyone deny Communion to him or herself. Believe me, I argued with myself over this for several years before coming to this conclusion.

    In obedience to the Church laws I denied myself Communion. In obedience to Christ, I allow myself Communion. It is as brave a stance, at least in my opinion, as the women who have been ordained as priests and as brave as Fr Bozek & the laity at St Stanislas parish and Sr Louise Lear to obey the Holy Spirit and to speak the truth and walk the truth in our acts, to defy mandates we know are wrong and are actually harmful to the Faith.

    What I would really like to see is a "Mass strike." What I mean by that is that all the women in the Church should not attend Mass in solidarity with Sr. Louise Lears until the hierarchy changes its ways toward women. Imagine the Church with NO WOMEN in it. In addition to that, no money in the collection baskets. Money instead to the poor. No more money to Rome! Maybe then the men will understand also how difficult it is for the laity to come up with money for their care, while we are not cared for in the least. We should mirror their disrespect of us right back at them!

  11. hello all,

    you folks ask about our former Bishop Dupre. I am a member of the Springfield Diocese and happen to know that as of May, 2007 he was still at St. Luke's, since I've seen court papers referring to his deposition. To make a long story short, our diocese became embroiled in a 3 year legal battle with insurers over coverage concerning the diocese's supervision of priests. In the course of this discovery procedure Dupre, and another Bishop, were deposed in May '07 in order to find out more about what they knew, and when. Unfortunately, the suit was settled, so it's likely that the depositions will never see the light of day. Since his forced resignation, Bishop Dupre has become a non-person in this diocese. We hear nothing of him from the diocesan newspaper, for example. It is as if he no longer exists.